Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year, New Tag Line

I should have known better than to put in a tag line that wouldn't fully describe what exactly this blog is about. It's my ramblings, it was supposed to be about me and not so much the babes, but yeah right.

Because see, I am a stay at home mom. My job... which in turn is my life... is taking care of those 4 little bodies. And with The Chef opening his own place...

Oh, did I mention that?

90% of my readers know me. They also know that The Chef opened his own restaurant. But for the fraction that stumble upon this blog either by link or clicking that "Next Blog" button at the top of blogger, they may not know. But yeah, He did.

The Restaurant

Since Jelly has been 3, The Chef has worked a normal 9-5 dig. He was the executive chef at a local hospital and was in charge of any and all food. It was stability, it was weekends off, it was nights free, it was boring. He was going to crazy because well, he was better than that... and knew it. The stars aligned properly, and a half drunken conversation ended up with a restaurant.

HOLY CRAP what did we get ourselves into?

It hasn't been quite a month since the doors have been open, and it's been a massive adjustment for all of us. Jelly told his teacher that he "Doesn't get to see his dad that much, except for on the weekends" which meant that I had to explain to them that The Chef and I didn't split up, it's just that he's working. The threat of "Wait until your dad gets home" has become null and void, and I have to take them all to hockey practice.

So as the new year begins, I decided to change the tag line to more accurately describe what you will read here. Sure, my ramblings will be included, but it is about "Mom" me more than anything else. It's about being a single parent without really being one. It'll be about how I deal with it all... the ups and downs, and even the sideways...

It's just another's account on life.

My Top Ten 2010

I love lists... which is why I'm sure that I'm the one that always fills out those meme's "5 movies that changed your life" or "10 songs that will always put a smile on your face" So without much further.... eh... here it is:

Top Ten of 2010
(in no particular order)

10) Dish Network: Everything I want, for a fraction of the price. No outages, no problems, and I have my soul back from Time Warner.
9) Pineapple: Not that I'm not thankful for all of my children, but there is something about this little girl. Maybe it's because she is the last baby... Maybe it's because we hang all day while the other ones are in school, Maybe it's because she's just her... I'm not sure... but all I know is that she's awesome.
8) The Move to Elyria: The Babes are doing so good here. The schools are awesome, the hockey program is wonderful, and they have friends on the street. Plus, I'm in the same town as my bestfriend.
7) Friendships: I'm in my early 30's. I figured what friends I had now, it what I had. Never in a million years did I think that I would make that connection and actually develop a true friendship. 
6) My Blackberry: I love it. I really don't know WHY I fought having a smart phone for so long. It's wonderful even if I do get a smidge bothered by it dinging at me when I'm out and I get new email.
5) The ability to wear Pin Up Clothes: I have the figure to wear them, and I look darn good in them. This site is my new favorite.
4) MadaDesign: It's still in it's infancy, but I have great plans for it.
3) Delores: She's a punk, she doesn't listen, but she's exactly what I wanted. I wanted a lap dog and she is perfectly content to climb into my lap while we wait for The Chef to come home.
2) Kim Harrison. She's the brilliant author behind the Rachel Morgan, The Hallows series. I am so very happy that I found this spectacular author.
1) Fracas

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's not just about Santa

There are quite a few things I could tell you about this morning... like how Santa had left a mere 20 minutes before Banana woke, and she in turn woke her brothers. I could tell you about the reaction from my mom this year because The Chef and I got her exactly what she wanted. I could even tell you how my grandmother shed some tears over what The Chef and I gave her.

But at least the first one is for another day, if at all.

Today is the day that is celebrated as the birth of Jesus Christ. This day is one of the cornerstone days of my faith.

Luke 2:9-11 says: An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."

In the hussle and bussle of all things Christmas, this message tends to get lost, even in my home, where my children do know why we celebrate Christmas. Even in my home where I do have a nativity scene displayed from the moment my Christmas decorations go up. This year, so much more than in years past, I feel the need to shout it from the top of my lungs. "Our Lord Savior was born this day!"

And I think I know why. Many people I know have been dismissing Christmas as nothing more than a secular holiday, and it is so much more than that. It's more than the man in the red suit, the presents and even the family. This day, at least in my house, at least to me, is one of the two most spiritual, religious days of the year.  And I find it very... disturbing... that I can be called names, and my religion can be attacked, especially on this High Holy day... because of this High Holy day.

The insults are said in a joking manner so they can claim innocence, or with a smiling face so they can call you uptight. And the only reprieve we Christians have is to do as our Messiah taught us and turn the other cheek, or as our mothers taught us, to just let it roll off our backs. But it still doesn't mean that it doesn't sting, and that it doesn't hurt our soul when these insults come from those that are close to us. I, like many others, will just hold my head high, and know that my soul is saved because of events that are celebrated on this day.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Melting Snowmen makes me Supermom (I have proof)

I am right now in the middle of what I like to call the Christmas Cookie Week. I bake to take to my inlaws for Christmas, I bake for my aunt's and my parents, and of course for Santa. This year there are more (read about why here), but just in quantity, because I make everyone's favorites. It's been crazy hectic, but I do really love every minute of it.

Banana, who knows I like to bake treats for classes, asked her teacher if it was ok if she brought in cookies for tomorrow, their last day of school before break. Her teacher says yes (and "thank you for asking if it was ok"). Banana tells me this when she gets home from school today. I have a ton of cut out butter cookies... no problem. Throw some icing on them and it'll be fine.

"Oh and Mom, they can't be Christmas cookies. A boy in our class doesn't celebrate Christmas or his birthday."

I think I have enough stars and snowmen cutouts that it'll be fine and then I get on Facebook.

Sitting there in my news feed, is a post from Betty Crocker. They are highlighting this blog that are making cookies called, Melted Snowmen, and I fall madly in love with them. This is the answer that I was looking for.

(Before we go any farther, there is something I need to tell you about myself...

You know the husband that watches the DIY channel and thinks suddenly that "building that *insert weekend warrior project here* isn't that hard... and then suddenly it is? Yeah, that's me when it comes to baking... anything. Usually I can pull it off, and like said husband, it may not be perfect, but it gets done.)

Besides, they are sugar cookies, how hard can they be?

Then the boys pipe in, "How about cookies for our class?"

Sure, why not. What's a few dozen more?

When Crazy Domestic made them, she used the Betty Crocker Sugar cookie mix. "No store bought dough for me, and I'm dumb enough I have all of the ingredients here to make cookies." She also used Betty Crocker Cookie Icing. "Why would I buy that? It won't set up in time and I'm crazy enough, I have all of the ingredients here to make icing."

I ran to JoAnn's to get color for the icing and came across the tubes of Wilton frosting that all I have to do is attach a tip. SCORE! I stop at the grocery store on the way back and get marshmallows and get a tube of the orange gel for their little noses. Now on Monday, I had made cut out cookies with the babes up and running around, and I wanted to hang them all by their toenails before it was said and done it was more of a hassle than I was willing to deal with. So I figured I'll just wait until they go to bed... and then I waited some more... and some more... and I finally get started at 11pm. I figured I'd be done and in bed by 2ish.

I used the Sugar Cookie recipe and Confectioner's Icing recipe from joyofbaking.com I triple it because I figure I have at least 68 to make (Enough for each class.) I pull out the dough after it's 20 mins of chill time, and start to mold it... and I can't make them right. No matter how hard I tried, they were all different thicknesses, and my Virgo self was freaking right the hell out they weren't just coming out right. So I roll them and cut out circles. I'm looking at how many I have, and how many I need, and realize that I have to make more. I make another triple batch.

Finally, they are all done and out of the over. The first half are nice and cool, so I start on the icing. I double the batch, and in my sleep deprived super mom state of mind I think it will be enough to ice the 75+ cookies I have. I have to make more icing.  Double the recipe again, and I have 70 cookies iced. I'm not making more for the last 5 cookies. Time to move onto the marshmallows. I made 6 or 7 at a time, and it wasn't as sticky as I thought it was going to be. I have all the marshmallows on. Now it's time to pipe on the decorations.

Now, when I first saw these, I thought to myself, oh that will be easy. And you know what? It really was. It was uber easy. Just didn't think it was going to take me 3 hours to pipe 70 cookies. I didn't account for the massive hand cramps. I didn't account for the mistakes and how I was going to fix them. But at 6:30am, I was done. Completely done. All that was left was to go and sit for a minute and then I could box them up for the kids to take to school.

Banana woke me up. It was 7:10. I told her to get ready for school. Then the chef woke me up. It was 7:30. I shook the sleep from my head and went and boxed them up.
Melted Snowmen all ready to be eaten by school children
The boys didn't say "Thank you". In fact Jelly got mad because I wouldn't let him eat one. But Banana... she is the one that made it worth it.

"Mom, Thank you so much for making these cookies for *boy in her class*. These are really cool. You're the best." Followed by a huge hug and a kiss.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Covered in Thin Icing

When I was a kid, around this time in December, I would go to my best friend's house to decorate Christmas cookies. Her mom and her mom's best friend had stayed up all night the night before and baked until they just couldn't anymore. My BF and I would sit around her mother's kitchen table decorating those cookies until we were covered in thin icing, and our bellies were full with the cookies that were broken.

As the years went by and we grew up, there were many people who came and decorated for a year or two, and then our boyfriends started to come along, but it was always at least the two of us there. And as even more years passed, her mom would share that bottle of wine she was drinking. I do not remember a Christmas when I was younger not decorating Christmas cookies at her house.

But then we grew up. My BF enlisted in the Navy to serve her country, while I went to college. Our last year of making cookies together was the year before my BF left for boot camp. (We begged her mom to make us cookies, but her mom said if we wanted the we had to make them ourselves... and we did. It was the night of December 23, and we stayed up until they were all baked and decorated. That was around noon on December 24.)

Fast Forward to 7 years ago. She was home for Christmas with her kids. We laughed about how we were going to finally bake cookies together again, but an emergency pulled her back to Norfolk, and we didn't do it then either.

Fast Forward to 2 years ago. The day that she was supposed to drive the hour to my house, we had one hell of a snow storm, and it was the only day she had off. They didn't get done together that year either.

Last year, I was still recovering from having Pineapple, so I bought some refrigerator dough to roll out to at least have my kids decorate them. I just couldn't get it done though. (In fact all 3 of the older ones were flipping out because we didn't have home made cookies for Santa last year.)

But this year...

This year we are in the same city. This year, we have an entire day to do it while the older ones are in school. This year we have expanded our list from the basic 3 different kinds to having 11 different kids. And then, on the kids' first day of break, her kids and my babes, will all sit around my kitchen table to decorate cookies... and another generation will know what it's like to be...

...covered in thin icing and have their bellies be full of the cookies that were broken.